But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
At the least sound of provocation among my siblings, our mother would appear from nowhere to separate the warring parties saying as she did so, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The phrase jumped out at me when reading today’s gospel. What is implied by doing to others what we would have them do to us? And, who are our enemies? (I think most of us do not have bona fide enemies, maybe just people we do not trust, or like, or perhaps do not want to interact with.)
Real enemies plot to kill. They want to destabilize the good of a society or community. Greed and power are at stake. While few of us may have personal enemies, countries are aware of adversaries among and between themselves
I thought of this as our country debates the proposed intervention in Syria. Normally, I would take sides quickly in such a debate, but for some reason I was hesitant. There is proof of chemical weapons and the ignoring of international protocols prohibiting their use. And, our own government leaders, many of whom I respect, are disagreeing with each other. I remained confused.
Then I read the letters from both Pope Francis and Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolas pleading for prayer and fasting in opposition to the planned U. S. intervention. These are persons who lived and worked among the oppressed all their lives and who now speak for the faith we all cherish and love.
Father Nicolas closed his letter with a scriptural passage in which Jesus said to his disciples, after they became frustrated at not being able to cure a demonic possession: “This kind of evil is annihilated only by prayer and fasting.” I knew which side I had to take.
—Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, S.C. is Executive Director of Jesuit Retreat House, Cleveland OH.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness light; and where there is sadness, joy.
—St. Francis of Assisi
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